Donald Trump is Republicans' first and maybe last realistic chance to ditch the healthcare law they have railed against for years.
And they know it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has refused to stump for the Republican presidential nominee, has nonetheless seized on Trump's renewed attacks on Obamacare in the final days of the campaign to make a case for him.
"Imagine if we had a Republican president," Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday. "This is what Donald Trump is talking about. A special session — we've already proven this year with a Republican House and a Republican Senate we can have that special session, and we can repeal and we can replace Obamacare."
Trump, who has hammered the law in nearly every speech over the last few weeks, announced Tuesday that, as president, he would call a special session of Congress to repeal it immediately.
It's not clear why a special session might be needed, as Congress is scheduled to be in session just after the inauguration takes place in January. But regardless, an opportunity to ditch the healthcare law would be a dream come true for House Republicans.
They have voted more than 70 times to repeal parts or all of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama has signed a handful of the bills, but they only tweak small parts of the law. And while the Supreme Court tossed Republicans a bone in 2012 by ruling that states can opt out of the law's Medicaid expansion, the court also upheld its individual mandate to buy coverage and the rest of the law by extension.
Campaigning hard against Obamacare helped Republicans win back majority in the House in 2010 and gain a simple majority in the Senate two years ago. Yet without cooperation from Obama, they were unable to follow through on their promises to repeal the law.
Republicans uniformly oppose the Affordable Care Act, and its struggles this year with rising premiums and reduced plan options have boosted their arguments against it. So if there's any reason for them to support Trump, it's the hope that they finally would be able to get rid of the law.
Trump has been framing his closing campaign arguments in similar terms, blasting the new insurance marketplaces and telling voters they should support him if they want to ditch Obamacare.
"Premiums are surging, companies are leaving, insurers are fleeing, doctors are quitting and deductibles are going through the roof," Trump told an audience in Atkinson, N.H., on Friday.
"I'm asking for your vote so we can replace Obamacare and save healthcare for every family in New Hampshire and every family in this country," he said.
If Trump loses to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, Republicans wouldn't have another shot at repealing Obamacare for another four years. And even if they won the White House in 2020, by then millions of Americans would have been dependent for years on its subsidies and Medicaid expansion, making it far more difficult to repeal.
"Love him or hate him, Trump is probably the last chance Republicans will have to repeal Obamacare," Republican strategist Ron Bonjean told the Washington Examiner.
That feeling was palpable at a Trump event Tuesday, where a number of House Republicans who are also medical professionals gave him an unusual display of support. Gathered onstage in King of Prussia, Pa., they urged a vote for Trump to give them a White House ally against Obamacare.
"We are chomping at the bit," said Rep. Mike Burgess of Texas.
Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland told the audience that "the only solution is Trump, Pence," referring to vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. And Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said Trump is the last shot at getting rid of the healthcare law.
"If Hillary Clinton is president of the United States, we will never get there," Barrasso said.